Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Best DVD news of the year!

Well, one good thing is coming from the atrocious-looking new "Kolchak" (cough, cough) series ABC is mounting this fall. That's right, Universal is finally getting off its ass and releasing the single 20-episode season of one of the best horror/sci-fi shows ever, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. If they were smart they'd include The Norliss Tapes movie on there as well, but I won't get greedy.

Both of the pilot telemovies are available on a double bill DVD, and this is all *essential* stuff.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Marvelous MGM DVDs announced...

Fans feared the acquistion of MGM by Sony would slow down the release of MGM's junk movie DVDs, but so far there's no sign of that. Of course, it could be these were just in the pipe before the buyout, but hopefully Sony's is giving the DVD department its head.

October 18th sees the wonky Sabata Trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns released in a box set. (The third film, starring Yul Brynner in the place of Lee Van Cleef, actually isn't a Sabata film, but was dubbed that way when it came to the States.) The second film, Return of Sabata, was included in the Medved's seminal 50 Worst Films of All Time, and earned the distinction. It also has one of the great bad theme songs in movie history. Really, it's spectacular.

Also out that day is Batman: The 1943 Serial. I never really thought this one would see the light of day, since the villain is J. Carrol "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" Naish playing a "Jap." I mean, you know...1943. I wonder if this will actually reach market, or at least be edited for political correctness before doing so.

Monday, July 25, 2005

This week on DVD, July 26th 2005

The DVD of the week is Russ Meyers’ masterpiece Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! The disc costs a hunk of coin, with the list price being $40, but no B-movie fan should miss this one.

Next is Bo Derek’s ludicrous softcore epic Bolero, co-starring George Kennedy (!) and directed, of course, by Derek’s then husband, John Derek. The film finds a virginal Bo (that’s right) seeking to help heal her bullfighter boyfriend, who’s been gored in, er, an inconvenient spot.

This week’s Misty Mundae softcore release is Bikini Girls on Dinosaur Island. The film is apparently short enough for the disc to require an ‘extra’ film, Bikini Goddesses.

In what seems to be a theme in the making, Carmen Electra returns with Carmen Electra's NWWL #2: Tag Team , the second volume of her new Nude Women Wrestlers League.

Meanwhile…geez, somebody’s feeling their oats this week. The Sylvia “Emmanuelle” Kristol of Lady Chatterly’s Lover is out courtesy of MGM, at their typical bargain price of about $10. Kristol’s Mata Hari is also out.

Anchor Bay seeks a bit more coin by packaging some previously released discs into cheap sets. Fright Pack: Camp Classics features Elvira, Mistress of the Dark; Sleepaway Camp; Transylvania 6-5000; Vamp; Return to Horror High and Return of the Killer Tomatoes (featuring a young George Clooney). Fright Pack: Devil Made Me Do It collects The Antichrist, Fear No Evil, Hell Night, To the Devil a Daughter, The Church and Curse of the Devil. Both sets can be found on the web for $21-$25.

Just Before Dawn is a ‘classic’ ‘80s slasher flick, i.e., it’s well regarded by fans of the breed. The disc is the work of Media Blasters, so it’s probably a good package. Like Bolero, this stars George Kennedy.

Prison A Go-Go is one of those Troma camp-on-purpose deals, which seldom work. This one features Roger Corman (in an acting part). Rhonda Shear and Mary Woronov, however.

The recently mentioned DTV sci-fi killer shark movie Raging Sharks is out today, starring Corey Nemec and Corbin Bernsen.

Then there’s the, you know, actually good stuff.

Gate of Flesh is the latest Criterion release, a Japanese flick about a gang of prostitutes seeking to survive in post-war Japan. I guess it’s theme week even at Criterion, because another release is Story of a Prostitute, another Japanese film.

The Errol Morris Collection features a set of Morris’ documentaries. The individual films—Gate of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line and Vernon, Florida are also available separately.

If you haven’t caught up with the Peter Sellers/Blake Edwards Pink Panther series, the various films are receiving a re-release tomorrow. Presumably this was originally meant to coincide with the theatrical premiere of the horrendous looking Steve Martin remake of the original film, which is now been dumped to a February 2006 release. The two best films in the series are A Shot in the Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again, but you might want to start with the first film, The Pink Panther. MGM is also releasing three discs of Pink Panther cartoons.

The second season of Star Trek: Enterprise (well, I liked it) is now out.

It Came from the Long Box! The Avengers #227, January 1983

This is sort of an interesting issue to look back on, as it was meant to clear up loose threads, take a moment before the next major plot arc started to do some character stuff, and set the table for one of the group’s periodic wholesale membership changes, as well as an upcoming story arc.

Some of the stuff I remember, some I don’t. (C’mon, the comic’s twenty plus years old now.) I mean, there’s about a hundred plot threads going on here. However, given my background I generally kept up, and of course comics of that era really made an effort—often resulting in way too much barely disguised and quite clunky exposition—to keep readers apprised of such.

A major focus of the issue is the then recently introduced superheroine Captain Marvel, in this case a black woman with big frizzy hair and a particularly boring costume who could turn into energy, or some damn thing. Let’s just say that she hasn’t entered the pantheon of great superheroes, and had she been white, she’d probably be even less remembered.

The story starts with a test of her abilities, and in her energy form she literally goes around the world in “under two seconds.” Needless to say, she was one of the characters where the writers had to ignore the potential of her abilities so that nearly every issue wasn’t resolved immediately. Jan, aka the Wasp (then the group’s chairman) then hugs her (!) and invites her to join the team.

Jan then leaves for a lunch date, at which she is eventually joined by Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four, who here wear versions of their classic blue uniforms that look like bad jogging suits. This event is interesting as an early (if not particularly good) example of trying to portray the private lives of superheroes, something that writers like Brian Michael Bendis have recently brought to vogue.

There’s a pretty lame ‘woman’s lib’ vibe going on in the issue (one belied by the Wasp, who despite being the group’s then leader still is portrayed as a bit of a ditz.) This includes a moment where then-member She Hulk picks up a big piece of equipment that "weighs five tons!", earning amazed looks from Captain America and Iron Man. This is a particularly silly moment, as both gentlemen have known hundreds of people who could do the same. Meanwhile, Hawkeye, often sadly cast as the group’s hothead doofus, stalks off due to all the uppity chicks.

Meanwhile, Hank Pym, Jan’s ex-husband (I think—if they were still married at this point, they wouldn’t be later) had recently gone nuts and committed various crimes and is currently imprisoned and he and Jan are now divorced and blah blah. Hank, for his part, gives a rather long recap of his and Jan’s career to his defense attorney. Since he’s had quite a few superhero identities, this takes a while, in fact eating up the vast majority of the book. Since I’ve never been a huge Ant-Man, Giant Man, etc., fan, this didn’t do that much for me.

The book is well put together, being scripting by the gifted Roger Stern and drawn by old hand Sal Buscema. Still, it points to an uncoming era in which such uninteresting characters as The Wasp, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, etc., would come to dominate the book. (Especially since Thor, on hand in the beginning of the book, indicates that he will shortly leave the group for about the 100th time.) The book looks forwards to days in which superhero comics would become more sophisticated, but in inself isn't quite there yet.

What a scumbag...

It takes a lot to get me to rouse sympathy for today's grossly coddled celebrites, most of who are quite stupid (and worse, don't know it), and often as utterly morally unconstrained and/or deviant as you'd expect gorgeous, emotionally shallow and incredibly insecure young people with gruesome loads of cash would be.

Well, this is one of those occasions. According to an item posted at the IMDB, a onetime teenage beau of then high schooler Jennifer Aniston is eBaying some of the momentos of their going out period, including personal letters and a homemade birthday card.

The seller is an asshole--sadly, words like 'cad', while accurate, have fallen out of favor--especially since I expect he's getting a thrill out of announcing (or at least implying) to the world that he banged the 15 year-old Anniston. He also has the balls to describe himself a former "long-time friend" of the TV star. I hope he chokes on whatever amount of money he recieves from this.

In futher Justice League news...

The current issue of Entertainment Weekly has a short story inquiring as too why Aquaman gets so little respect.

Oddly, the option of "Because he sucks" isn't advanced.


Because I don't have cable, I haven't really seen in any consistant way the Cartoon Network's current Justice League cartoons, much less its present incarnation, Justice League Unlimited. This is also due to the fact that some nitwit in the DVD department has decided to release stray episodes of the show's various runs rather than the entire seasons. Note to whoever this is: STOP DOING THAT, YOU MORON.

Anyway, I think everyone who frequents the main Jabootu site will understand why I'm excited by the above graphic.

Weird casting decision of the week...

In a presumed attempt to boast low ratings, UPN's well-regarded teen detective series Veronica Mars is, according to the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, adding Steve Guttenberg (!) to the cast for its second season.

Steve Guttenberg?! I don't know what sort of demographic they are hoping to tap into, but good luck to them.